Update on Mask Mandate

Update+on+Mask+Mandate

Nathan Lee, Editor

As the Omicron variant has been ravaging through our whole country with cases at an all time high, some states are attempting to get rid of the mask mandates in schools mainly due to the parents. The main reason that many parents are trying to do this is because some believe that these cloth masks do more harm than good to children. Some parents think this because they think that face masks make it hard to have actual proper interactions. Children are very visual learners so it is important to see how someone’s lips move when they are talking and how they express emotion when talking. On the contrary, some simply believe that these masks do not work and are not effective. There are many differing views on the mask mandates in schools and it has been a very sensitive topic lately with some parents opposing it and many supporting it. There have been many rallies and protests around the whole country regarding this issue, especially at school board meetings.

 

Here in our state of Virginia, the new governor is trying to ban the mask mandate in public schools. Ever since Glenn Youngkin, the 74th Governor of Virginia, was inaugurated into office on January 15, 2022, he took action right away. He signed eleven executive orders in one day with one of them, specifically stating, “Executive Order Number Two delivers on his Day One promise to empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school.”  Obviously, there were a lot of angry school districts and parents because of this. Many counties, specifically in Northern Virginia are deciding not to follow the ban and are continuing to implement the mandate. The first one to say they were still requiring masks was Arlington County Public Schools who immediately stated that they will not comply with the governor’s order via Twitter. not following the order are  Other neighboring counties who stated that they will not follow the order were Fairfax, Alexandria, Manassas City, Falls Church, and Prince William.  In Loudoun County, Scott Zeigler, who is the

Superintendent of LCPS sent out an email to the county stating that they will continue the mask mandate, thus requiring students to continue to wear masks.

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The Loudoun County School Board voted Tuesday night to support the superintendent’s recommendation to continue the current mitigation efforts, including the mask mandate within LCPS. 

 

LCPS students and staff wear masks as part of a layered strategy to help prevent COVID-19 transmission. The General Assembly adopted Chapter 456 (often referred to as SB1303) on March 30, 2021, directing school boards to offer and prioritize in-person instruction. It also requires school boards to adhere to mitigation procedures, like mask-wearing, to the extent practicable as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In order to comply with this legislation, masks must be worn by students, staff and visitors in LCPS facilities. Federal law requires the use of masks while on school buses. 

 

We acknowledge that these ongoing mitigation measures are not ideal or easy, and we will keep monitoring transmission data, advice from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and continue consultation with the local Loudoun County Health Department. 

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There were obviously many differing opinions on this angering some parents. Although this is a very heated issue right now, hopefully we can come to a conclusion that allows us to all be safe whether that be through masks, vaccines, or any other means.